Back again with some of my favorite breaks in Los Angeles, my hometown and one of the most underrated surf spots in SoCal. LA doesn’t get the same rap that Huntington Beach, Encinitas or Carlsbad get for the surf culture. But what we have, the locals on the westside own with pride. Check out some of my favorite breaks
North & South Santa Monica
SaMo is basically all beach. Excellent for the casual beach goer and first time surfer. The sand banks are all pretty damn consistent, breaking in the same part of the lineup ever since I can remember. Swells affect it all differently, since it’s basically a parallel run for a S swell, and a perpendicular hit for energy from the W or WSW. Moderate energy with a varying period (anything not super short) make this a seriously fun break, with quick and elongated rides from the peaks to the shoulders all through the beach.
One of LA’s lone points, it breaks right and is seriously sensitive to tide. Anything above 3 feet means you’re paddling your ass off for a wave that won’t break, time after time. Anything under 1.5 and you got rocks at the bottom. When it’s on though, with some S/SW energy, and this is one of the most fun breaks in California period. Made for a longboard or “fun-board,” but at the right spot hugging the point and you can have some fun on a twin fish, ohhhh yes. Problem is everybody else on their logs hugging the point too, that can usually find easy priority inside.
If you want a real local’s beach, try Topanga Canyon. It’s a reef that also only breaks right. A lot of fun for regular people, you can take a log or a shorty. Warning though, people will paddle begind the peaks here, because the peak gets crowded and sometimes it’s the only way to get a sold wave in. Somebody will almost always be inside of you here. Always respect the lineup, on and off the peak.
This break is a little weird, and will be flat when others around it are firing. Inversely, we see the Venice Pier macking when its neighbor breaks aren’t handling the incoming swell so well. That’s the nice thing about the pier though, you have a different option when the swell direction is hitting other spots too hard or not enough. A fun break, with a long shoulder right off the pier and beyond, both sides. Wind plays a factor, south wind means people at north, and vice-versa.
Perhaps the break in Venice you see the best surfers on the least volume. People can shred here but it gets mad crowded especially on weekends (hey, welcome to surfing!). The jetty is literally the breakwater, because that’s what it does. Slows impactful swell down so surfers can ride waves that stay open and break more consistently. That’s why you find the skilled guys around here.